Session 1.3

Protecting biodiversity for a healthy and sustainable food system

In partnership with DG SANTE

The EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and its Farm to Fork Strategy are mutually-reinforcing strategies to protect people, the climate and the planet. Food systems are key drivers of climate change and environmental degradation, and have a profound impact on biodiversity. Global data point to decreasing diversity of plant species and varieties in farmers’ fields, rising numbers of livestock breeds at risk of extinction and an increasing proportion of overfished fish stocks. Protecting biodiversity, notably by ensuring diversity of seeds, is a key element of sustainable food production and plays a crucial role in building up more resilient EU agriculture and natural ecosystems. Preventing new pests and diseases from harming plants and animals is also needed to preserve and enrich the EU’s biodiversity. In doing so, the use of chemicals for pest and disease control can also be reduced.

This session will discuss the vital role that biodiversity plays in achieving a sustainable food system that protects our planet whilst ensuring food security, food safety and diverse and nutritious diets. Questions to be asked include, How can farmers make more use of different plant species? Can they rely on traditional and locally-adapted varieties (with possible lower yields) while earning sufficient income? Can food producers leverage biodiversity to obtain more diverse and higher quality foods? And how can consumers drive the demand for a more diverse food supply? Speakers and the audience will debate these questions and more, with a view to finding new opportunities for action.


Aminda Leigh, Moderators Europe